April 9, 2019

It’s time to take the Compassion Challenge this year! During Patient Experience Week, beginning on Monday, April 22, Texas Children’s will launch the Compassion Challenge to engage staff and providers around the hospital’s core values.

During Patient Experience Week, staff and providers across the organization will complete a challenge that focuses on the concepts of compassion, communication and connectedness. Examples of challenges include: greeting 10 people during the first two hours of your shift and holding open the door/elevator for a patient or visitor.

“Every one of us is empowered to demonstrate compassion – a simple, yet transformative, expression we can offer to others and to ourselves.” Director of Patient and Family Services, Katie Kalenda-Daggett said. “To understand the emotional state of another person and have the desire to reduce her/his suffering not only enriches the experience of that colleague, patient, or family but also the experience we create for ourselves each day.”

Staff and providers will register online to participate in the Compassion Challenge. Daily reminders and encouragement will be sent during Patient Experience Week to those that are registered. Those who complete each challenge during Patient Experience Week will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win 2 tickets aboard a lunch cruise on The Boardwalk FantaSea, a luxury yacht located in Kemah, Texas. Click here to register online to participate in the Compassion Challenge.

The theme for Patient Experience Week is “Get on Board with Patient Experience,” as we set sail for exotic ports of call to celebrate patients. This year’s theme emphasizes the importance of teamwork as we ask all employees to get aboard the Texas Children’s ship, The Bounty of Patient Experience, and continue to serve as anchors to patients and ensuring their experience is smooth sailing.

From April 22 to April 26, the Patient Experience team will kick off an exciting week filled with nautical-themed activities and interactive events at Texas Children’s Hospital Medical Center Campus, Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and Texas Children’s Hospital Woodlands Campus.

Amongst the events planned we will have Caught You Caring Awards ceremonies at all three campuses to recognize our 2019 recipients who have gone above and beyond to show compassion to our patients, families and co-workers.

In addition, there will also be patient events at each campus where various departments will have tables with fun activities for patients and families including music, a photo booth, and a host of games.

Patient Experience Week 2019 – Get on Board with Patient Experience

Monday, April 22
Compassion Challenge begins system-wide

Caught You Caring Ceremony – Medical Center Campus
Join us during Patient Experience Week as we celebrate employees and staff who have gone above and beyond to provide compassion to our patients, families and co-workers.
Where: Feigin Tower, first floor, FC-01A
When: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Tuesday, April 23
Caught You Caring Ceremony – West Campus
Join us during Patient Experience Week as we celebrate employees and staff who have gone above and beyond to provide compassion to our patients, families and co-workers.
Where: West Campus Conference Center, first floor
When: 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

West Campus Patient event
Where: West Campus, first floor
When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wednesday, April 24
Medical Center Campus Patient event
Where: The Auxiliary Bridge
When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Friday, April 26
Compassion Challenge ends

Caught You Caring Ceremony – The Woodlands Campus
Join us during Patient Experience Week as we celebrate employees and staff who have gone above and beyond to provide compassion to our patients, families and co-workers.
Where: Woodlands Conference Center, second floor
When: 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The Woodlands Campus Bridge event
Where: The Woodlands, first floor
When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

As part of Texas Children’s Patient Access Initiative, Texas Children’s MyChart now offers direct scheduling that allows current patients to quickly and easily schedule their appointments online.

Once patients log in to their MyChart accounts, they can schedule an appointment with their provider by clicking on the “schedule an appointment” button and following the prompts and instructions.

Since implementing the MyChart direct scheduling option, more than 5,500 appointments have been made and patient families describe the process as “simple and convenient.”

“I was surprised that Texas Children’s had this option,” wrote a Texas Children’s family. “It was very convenient and the scheduling process was very simple and streamlined.”

Click here for more information on how to schedule and cancel appointments online via MyChart.

About Texas Children’s Patient Access Initiative

Launched in August 2017, Texas Children’s Patient Access Initiative is an on-going, collaborative effort to improve patient access across the organization. Since then, Texas Children’s has made significant progress to ensure patients easily and conveniently get in the door so we can provide the care they need, when they need it.

Click here for a list of other tools and features we’ve implemented across the system to improve access, care coordination and patient experience at Texas Children’s.

Texas Children’s Heart Center was once again the site of a groundbreaking novel treatment that gives experts in our new catheterization laboratories yet another method at their disposal in the treatment of complex heart conditions.

Dr. Henri Justino, co-director of the center’s cardiac catheterization labs and director of cardiac innovation, recently developed and performed a first-of-its-kind procedure in which a young patient’s lung veins were reached directly through the chest wall.

Hope for Bronx

Three-year-old Bronx Delarosa was born with total anomalous pulmonary venous return, a critical heart defect that causes oxygen-rich blood returning from the lungs to be pumped into the right atrium instead of the left atrium, as it normally should. There, the oxygen-rich blood mixes with oxygen-poor blood, which means the body doesn’t get the oxygen it needs.

At just 8 days old, Bronx underwent a surgery to repair the defect that was initially thought to be a success. However, following a second surgery, doctors told his parents he’d developed a secondary condition – pulmonary vein stenosis, a condition that caused severe narrowing in his surgically repaired veins. The Delarosas were heartbroken when they learned there was nothing else that could be done for Bronx in their hometown.

To give their son a fighting chance, they turned to Texas Children’s Hospital.

Breaking new ground

Justino performed Bronx’s first catheterization procedure in February 2018, during which he placed a metal stent in the blocked upper vein in Bronx’s right lung. However, he was unable to relieve the blockage in the lower vein.

After a personal friend underwent a lung biopsy, where a tissue sample was taken directly through the chest wall, Justino wondered if a similar approach could be applied in cases like Bronx’s – entering the veins of the lungs through the chest.

After thorough research, Justino decided to move forward with the unique approach to relieve the blockage in Bronx’s right lung.

Bronx was taken to the catheterization lab where the team performed a CT scan to identify the exact location where the blocked vein was sufficiently far apart from artery, yet close enough to the chest wall, to allow a needle to enter the vein directly between the ribs. Justino and his team also generated a 3-D computerized model to pinpoint the exact location where the needle would enter Bronx’s chest. To ensure the utmost accuracy, a laser crosshair was beamed on his chest at the entry point.

Justino carefully made his way into Bronx’s lung and placed a tiny catheter, the thickness of a raw spaghetti noodle. He then used a special wire to deliver radiofrequency energy to get across the blocked vein and into the heart. From there, the wire was threaded down through Bronx’s leg. This allowed a stent to be placed in the blocked vein via a catheter in the leg.

Bronx recovered well and a follow-up echocardiogram proved the experimental approach was a success. The first-of-its-kind procedure, which lasted more than eight hours, was performed in one of the Heart Center’s new state-of-the-art, 1,000-square-foot cardiac catheterization labs, which Justino helped design with this type of procedure in mind.

“We are proud that Dr. Justino was able to develop this completely novel procedure for Bronx,” said Texas Children’s Chief of Pediatric Cardiology Dr. Daniel Penny. “Pulmonary vein stenosis in children is an extremely difficult problem to treat and tests the limits of our abilities to innovate. We see this new procedure as another advancement in the treatment of these children, which will be applied more widely in the future and help us improve the care we offer for complex cardiac conditions.”

Learn more about Texas Children’s Heart Center, ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

Some walked, some ran and others were helped along by their friends but all came out to participate in the seventh annual Texas Children’s Hospital and Houston Marathon Foundation Family Fun Run at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus.

On April 6, people of all abilities participated in the non-competitive 1K and 3K courses. Following the race, participants enjoyed the H-E-B sponsored Family Fun Zone, which was packed with snacks, entertainment and 40-plus attractions.

“My daughter and I came because it’s a good cause and it looked like fun,” one participant said.

Another runner said she and her family come every year to support Texas Children’s, to get some exercise and to have fun.

“It’s a family tradition,” she said.

Houston Marathon Announcer Mark Purnell kept everyone energized in his role as master of ceremonies cheering on the crowd and announcing any and all special guests, including Dr. Joseph Chorley with Texas Children’s Hospital Sports Medicine and music therapists with Texas Children’s Child Life Department. Prior to the race, Chorley led runners and walkers in some warm-up stretches and exercises and the music therapists sang the National Anthem.

“Everyone had a great time at West Campus’ seventh annual Family Fun Run,” said Texas Children’s Assistant Vice President Matt Timmons. “It’s always a festive family event that brings the community together and highlights the importance of adopting active, healthy lifestyles.”

Get a first-hand look at the fun by:

Flipping through a photo gallery of the event below.
Taking a look at our Facebook photo album from Saturday.

Don’t forget about the second annual Family Fun Run event at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands. It will be on Saturday, May 4 and will offer a 1-mile course. Post-race activities will follow. Click here to register and learn more about the upcoming event. Registration will close on Monday, April 22, so sign up today!

April 2, 2019

Texas Children’s Corporate Communications team will launch a special “Did you Know” series on Connect this month called, “Opening the Door: Patient Access at Texas Children’s.

While several stories have been featured on Connect spotlighting our patient access efforts, this new series will deliver small doses of information that employees can easily remember and keep top of mind.

The series will begin on Tuesday, April 9. Each week, a patient access tool the organization has implemented over the past year will be featured and will link to additional information. The series will also be incorporated on our screensaver rotations.

The “Did You Know” series will include a link to a page on texaschildrensnews.org highlighting other resource tools to improve access, care coordination and patient experience at Texas Children’s.

About Texas Children’s Patient Access Initiative

Launched in August 2017, Texas Children’s Patient Access Initiative is part of an ongoing, collaborative effort to improve patient access across the organization. Since this initiative began, Texas Children’s has made significant progress to ensure patients get into our system according to their urgency and timeline.

In the last year, the Patient Access team has made several MyChart enhancements – online scheduling and an automatic electronic waitlist – as well as direct scheduling via DocASAP that have benefited patient families. In addition, a new pilot program was launched to test the concept of space sharing in our specialty clinics in Wallace Tower that has optimized clinic and exam space, making it easier for patients to access our services.

Connect articles:
Texas Children’s implements first wave of solutions to enhance patient access
MyChart Madness: Scoring points for patient access system wide
MyChart Madness results in, enhancements continue to improve patient access
Patient access initiative continues to generate positive results for patient families
MyChart Shoot for the Stars Challenge: Scoring points for patient access
Texas Children’s rolls out Patient Access 2.0, online scheduling launches
Patient Access 2.0 initiative generates positive results among patient families
Texas Children’s MyChart now available in Spanish for patients, staff
Spotlight Video: Texas Children’s Patient Access Journey and Recent Accomplishments

The 2019 WorldFest-Houston will shine light on pediatric cancer with the showing of the Purple Songs Can Fly documentary, “Journey to Hope.”

Purple Songs Can Fly, the first recording studio created on a pediatric cancer floor, was founded in 2006 at Texas Children’s Hospital. Thirteen years and thousands of songs later, six childhood cancer patients, Mia, Layla, Dominic, Emily, Stephen and Christian, come together as survivors to share “Journey to Hope,” an original musical featuring their own songs. Written and recorded in the Purple Songs Can Fly studio during their individual cancer journeys, these songs were created as a way to express the myriad of emotions and feelings a pediatric cancer diagnosis may bring.

“We’re thrilled to be included in this year’s line up at WorldFest-Houston, alongside many other wonderful, independent films,” said Anita Kruse, founder and executive director of Purple Songs Can Fly. “This is a great stage for our story to be told, truly shining a light on pediatric cancer.”

Now in its 52nd year, WorldFest, the Houston International Film Festival, will showcase more than 60 new independent feature films and more than 100 award-winning shorts from around the globe. The WorldFest mission is to recognize and honor outstanding creative achievement in film and video, while educating and introducing excellence in cinematic arts for the promotion of cultural tourism in Houston. Founded in 1961 as an international film society, it evolved into a competitive international film festival in 1968, and became the third such festival in North America, following San Francisco and New York.

“We’re so proud of Anita and the incredible patients who created such a beautiful film,” said Carol Herron, coordinator of the Periwinkle Arts In Medicine Program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. “Purple Songs Can Fly has provided hundreds of patients and siblings the gift of sharing their journey through song, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to share this special piece with our community.”

The Purple Songs Can Fly documentary, “Journey to Hope” will be shown at 3 p.m. Sunday, Apr at Memorial City Cinemark 16 Theaters, located at Memorial City Mall, 301 Memorial Way in Houston. All events are open to the general public. Tickets start at $7.50 for matinees and are available online https://worldfest.org or at the Cinemark Memorial City box office.

To view the trailer, visit “Journey to Hope.” For more information about Purple Songs Can Fly, visit http://www.purplesongcanfly.org/ and for more information about 2019 WorldFest-Houston, visit http://www.worldfest.org/.

Hundreds of employees took their first look at Texas Children’s Well-Being Studio last week, exploring the bright new space on West Tower 20 that provides our one amazing team a convenient place at the Medical Center campus to turn holistic health goals into action and amplify unity through group classes at no cost.

Members of the Benefits & Well-Being team greeted attendees at the Open House for the Well-Being Studio, where classes officially began on March 25.

Employees snacked on healthy refreshments, infused waters and fruit smoothies as they walked through the nearly 2,000-square-foot space with room for classes of up to 40 participants. Click here for a full class schedule, including Yoga, Zumba, Barre, Core Blast, Gentle Stretch, Mindful Morning and more.

What was once the Heart Center waiting area has been transformed, with a new Well-Being Studio logo etched on the glass entry doors; open shelving for storage of personal belongings during class sessions; and fitness equipment that includes kettlebells, dumbbells, yoga mats, resistance bands, Pilates balls and foam rollers. A dedicated tranquility room is coming soon.

“The Well-Being Studio is another step toward our goal to have a healthy and strong workforce. It’s something people are engaged and excited about, and something we’ve consistently heard that our employees want,” said Vice President Jermaine Monroe. “Texas Children’s provides exceptional care to our patients and families and in order for that to happen, we have to empower and support our employees in their own well-being journeys.”

At the Well-Being Wheel, Open House guests met studio instructors while performing squats, push-ups, dumbbell curls and other light exercises to earn raffle prizes. There was also a table showcasing information about proper nutrition, and an interactive display on self-care where employees could create their own relaxing glitter wands.

Given a sneak peek and special opportunity to try classes at the studio a week early, wellness ambassadors – trained employees who agree to take an active role in raising awareness about on-site wellness offerings at Texas Children’s – said their colleagues would be pleased to finally have such a facility available.

“I’m a big proponent of being your best self. You can’t take care of patients if you’re not well yourself; you can’t pour from an empty cup,” said Brittany Walters, a wellness ambassador and clinical nurse coordinator in International Patient Services. “This studio is really important because it helps with work-life balance. You can come to work and have a place to refresh and rejuvenate.”

For more information about the Well-Being Studio, including how to register as a member and attend a class, visit the studio page on Connect.